1794 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Hamilton of Bangour

Robert Alves, in Sketches of a History of Literature (1794) 175-76.



William Hamilton of Bangour, was a gentleman of a respectable family, and a captain of the army. He was the friend and cotemporary of the Scotch Guarini, Allan Ramsay, whom he outlived by several years.

He is one of those writers of moderate talents, that please more than the most brilliant geniuses. If he is sometimes flat, he is oftener lively and elegant. His verses are easy, and flow with a simple propriety, that is almost always pleasing. His manner is of the soft anacreontic kind; and he may be placed in the middle rank of our lyric bards.

His Odes to Contemplation and Fancy are among his best pieces: he composed several songs; among others the Braes of Yarrow in the old Scotch dialect.

In his Ode on the Change of Seasons, addressed to a young lady, he has the following natural and picturesque lines.

Now Winter from the frozen north,
Drives his iron chariot forth:
Cast up thy eyes, how bleak and bare,
He wanders on the tops of Yare.
His grisly hand in icy chains,
Fair Twedies silver flood constrains.
Behold his footsteps dire are seen,
Confest in every withering green!

Hamilton was a polished scholar, well versed in ancient and modern languages. He was, moreover a philosopher and adorned his poetry, with frequent allusions to physics and morals.